Two national records in 4x800 highlight day two at Junior Olympics


Glen McMicken
USA Track & Field

WALNUT, Calif. -- Two national youth records in the 4x800 meters relay fell Wednesday to highlight second-day action at the 41st USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College. The Texas Stars smashed the intermediate boys' standard with a 7:41.30, and the United Stars lowered their own national best with an 8:50.72 in the young women's event.

The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships is the largest and most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world. The Junior Olympics feature the following age divisions: Bantam (10 and under), Midget (11-12), Youth (13-14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Men/Women (17-18). Entry for this championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association, and Regional levels of the 2007 USATF Junior Olympic Program.

Eric Gosset, Jodale Burkley, Howard Shepard and Kourtney Payne teamed up to knock almost 13 seconds off the previous intermediate boys' record, set in 2005 by the Ohio Flyers TC. The United Stars squad of Syeeda Gee, Ije Iheoma, Chanelle Price and Bonita Taylor chopped more than three seconds off the record set by the club in 2001.

Two returning champions cruised to easy wins in the multi-events as Victoria Dunlap of the Continental T-Belles in Nashville, Tenn., repeated her gold medal effort in the young women's heptathlon, scoring 4,929 points, while Shanay Briscoe captured top honors in the intermediate girls' heptathlon with 4,779 points.

Briscoe, who competes for the Northwest Flyers in Cypress, Texas, won the youth girls' pentathlon last year.

Roberto Vergara of Edinburg, Texas, added young men's race walk gold to the intermediate boys' title he won last year, covering the 3000 meters in 13:21.31, more than half a minute ahead of his brother, Ricardo, who took the silver. Michael Villalobos of the SoCal Mustangs in Montebello, Calif., clocked 20:09.94 to win the intermediate boys' gold.

In the young women's 3000 race walk, last year's intermediate bronze medalist Silvanna Francescutti of the El Paso Comets won with a time of 16:21.25. The intermediate girls' gold went to Chelsea Palacio of the Umoja TC in San Jose, Calif., at 17:30.69.

The California Rising Stars had a banner day in the midget multis, sweeping the golds in the pentathlon. Jordie Munford of Rancho Cucamonga won the girls' gold with 2,939 points, and teammate Victor Bolden of Etiwanda took the boys' top honors with 2,585 points.

Together Elite Juniors raced to a pair of wins in the 4x800, with the youth girls quartet of Dawnielle Baucham, Dynasty Gammage, Kristina Kirkland and Deena Pierce clocking 9:35.87 for gold. In the intermediate girls' race, Melissa Mello, Tara Blanchard, Tia Leake and Angelica Weaver won in 9:22.44.

Iowa United TC won the young men's 4x800 in a speedy 7:40.50 with a foursome of Jordan Cornilsen, Blake Irwin, Tyler Anderson and Aaron Stockstell. The Tri-City Blazers topped the podium in the youth boys' race with a time of 8:45.30 set by Claytin Lewis, Tyrek Smith, Kwayon Taylor-Green and Denzel Brown.

Midget relay crowns went to California Rising Stars in the girls' 4x800 and New Image Youth TC in the boys' race. Victoria Bolden, Brooke Hardge, Tyler Hardge and Brandie Munford finished at 10:04.77, while the team of Isaiah Bernard, Jordan Gutierrez, Isaiah Marshall and Terrell Newby stopped the clock at 9:40.07.

Daniel Gooris of the Albuquerque Track Club, who was seventh last year, moved up to the champion spot in the young men's decathlon, scoring 6,850 points. Andrew Gay of Milwaukie, Ore., was the victor in the intermediate boys' decathlon with 6,300 points.

Competition resumes Thursday at 8 a.m. with the young men's 5000 meters. The meet is being webcast at For more information and complete results, visit